From 1898 City Directory:
Organized August 1, 1872. Number of patients April 1, 1896, 710. Under the management of the Board of Freeholders.
Visiting days for friends of patients, Saturday of each week, 1st Sunday of each month and all legal holidays from 9:30 to 11:30 AM and 1:30 to 4 PM. Friends are then allowed to see the patients at the discretion of the superintendent. For a general visit to the building a pass from one of the Freeholders is required, valid on every day except Sunday.
From History of Essex and Hudson Counties 1884
The new asylum or retreat for the insane in Newark is a model institution, which takes the place of the old one that had become inadequate for the purpose designed. The old asylum was built by the county in 1872 upon a plot of ground purchased by the city authorities for hospital purposes. From time to time additions had been made in accordance with the increased demand for accommodations, and at length it became obvious that the best policy was to build a new structure so commodious as not only to serve present necessity, but to anticipate the demands of the future.
The plot of ground on South Orange Avenue upon which the new County Insane Asylum stands, in a nearly completed condition, comprises eleven and three-eighths acres. The buildings were commenced in 1882. The front building, facing the avenue, will be, when completed, over four hundred feet long by about fifty feet in width, and the rear building, parallel with it and connected with it by a three story wing, is somewhat less in dimensions. The buildings are three and four stories high; the material is brick, trimmed with stone, and the design is admirable, both as regards appearance and comfort of inmates. The advantageous arrangement of the structure is quite remarkable, and few it any, asylums in the country are better prepared to give the insane such care as their condition requires. Strength and durability are everywhere apparent, and yet the value of tastefulness and an aspect of cheerfulness has never been ignored. The building is supplied with all of the modern conveniences in lighting, heating and ventilation, and contains elevators and a good water system.
The grounds are not less admirable, in their way, in appearance and utility than the building. While a portion of the tract is laid off ornamentally, several acres are reserved for gardening, and there many of the inmates of the institution are employed during the summer months at easy labor, which they enjoy and perform well. Dr. Livingston S. Hinkley, of Avon Springs, N. Y. has recently been elected superintendent of the asylum.
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